Mongolia is experiencing very low temperatures and heavy snowfall since early November 2015, locally named Dzud. According to the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), snow has covered 90 per cent of the total territory with conditions getting more severe.
Based on the latest assessment report released from the Mongolian Government in early January 2016, 50 soums (districts) in 16 aimags (provinces) are currently categorized as experiencing Dzud while 120 soums in 20 provinces are on the edge of entering Dzud condition. Some local level governments have already declared Dzud in their respective soums as part of the early warning and preparedness measures. (IFRC, 15 Jan 2016)
On 15 January 2016, IFRC released 158,000 Swiss francs (157,686 US dollars) from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to assist 1,500 herder families (7,500 people) in Mongolia who are at risk of losing all their livestock to extreme sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall.(IFRC, 18 Jan 2016)
On 2 March, the IFRC launched an emergency appeal for CHF 834,000 (USD 835,000) to assist 25,500 vulnerable Mongolian herders who are at risk of losing their livestock and livelihoods due to ‘Dzud.’ (IFRC, 2 Mar 2016)
According to recent information from the Mongolian Information and Research Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment, heavy snowfall and snowstorms will continue in March, especially in the north-western aimags. In total 965,000 people – mostly herders – have been affected by dzud and are on the edge of facing devastating cold, snow storm, loss of their livestock and food insecurity. Among the affected populations are 5,019 expectant women, 20,874 children aged under five years, 6,117 people with a disability and 4,173 households living below the national poverty line. (IFRC, 31 Mar 2016)
NEMA has officially declared the 2016 dzud over with the immediate needs of affected herders largely addressed through the response of the Government of Mongolia and the international community. The HCT dzud response has been effectively led by NEMA and resulted in the provision of targeted agriculture support to 78,764 households in 21 provinces (aimags); protection support to 17,162 households in eight aimags; multi-sector support to 16,681 households in five aimags; early recovery support to 12,219 households in 13 aimags; food support to 11,182 households in 15 aimags and nutrition support to 4,390 households in six aimags. (OCHA, 23 Jun 2016)
Dundgobi, southeast Mongolia: From late 2015 to April 2016, Mongolia suffered from what is locally known as a dzud – a very hot and dry summer followed by an extremely harsh winter. The result of dzud can be devastating to animals on which many Mongolians rely for food and income. Ganbold, 40, has been looking after animals since he was a small child. This year’s dzud took a heavy toll on his animals, making them weak and prone to disease. "I am usually prepared well for winter and spring,” he says.
￼Since January, 1.1 million of the total 56 million ￼￼national livestock have perished, affecting 41 per ￼cent of the population who rely on livestock for their ￼main source of food and cash.
National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has confirmed 6,426 new cases of sheep pox in 37 soums and six aimags this year. Quarantine measures are in place in 16 soums and five aimags. As of 6 June, 314,886 animals have been vaccinated, 78% of the 430,000 livestock targeted for vaccination.
What is El Niño?
El Niño is the warming of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific, which occurs roughly every two to seven years, lasting from six to 24 months.
At the end of April, nightly temperatures were around 0 degrees Celsius in the north-western part of Mongolia and several degrees higher during the day. At the same time the provinces of Bayan-Ulgii, Uvs, Govi-Altai, Zavkhan, Khuvsgul, Arkhangai, Uvurkhangai, Bulgan, Orkhon, Selenge, Darkhan-Uul, Tuv, Khentii, Dornod and Dundgovi had various levels of precipitation and heavy storm.
IASC Regional Network for Asia-Pacific
The ongoing humanitarian impact of extreme weather events caused by El Niño, which began in 2015, are likely to continue in many cases in the Asia-Pacific region until the third quarter of 2016. While emergency needs in many countries are waning due to recent rainfalls, in many areas longer-term engagement, in particular around resilience and early recovery is still needed.
The humanitarian impact of the 2015-2016 El Niño remains deeply alarming, now affecting over 60 million people. Central America, East Africa (particularly Ethiopia), the Pacific and Southern Africa remain the most affected regions. The El Niño phenomenon is now in decline, but projections indicate the situation will worsen throughout at least the end of the year, with food insecurity caused primarily by drought not likely to peak before December. Therefore, the humanitarian impacts will last well into 2017 .
Ulaanbaatar, June 3, 2016 -Warmer weather has signalled the arrival of summer in Mongolia, but the lingering effects of the Dzud disaster that came earlier this year will continue to affect the lives of as many as 63,000 nomadic households in the country for days to come.
Ulaanbaatar, June 3, 2016 –Warmer weather has signalled the arrival of summer in Mongolia, but the lingering effects of the Dzud disaster that came earlier this year will continue to affect the lives of as many as 63,000 nomadic households in the country for days to come.
Asia-Pacific is the most disaster-prone region in the world. It is also home to a number of long-running conflicts that exact a human toll. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) places women and girls at the center of humanitarian response. Every year the number and frequency of disasters (whether natural or conflict-related) is increasing, with millions of people displaced from their homes.
The National Emergency Management Authority has officially declared the winter dzud over; however, spring conditions remained variable and harsh, with snowfall occurring in some parts, and dry conditions anticipated.
The consequences of the recent winter dzud are linked to El Niño, and may negatively impact livestock health and place additional strain on herder households in spring and during the summer months. Average temperatures for May will be higher than average in western territories.
The Government of Mongolia has officially declared the winter dzud over; however rains and unseasonal snow continue to impact vulnerable herders by putting stress on their livelihoods due to additional livestock deaths. Since January, some 1.1 million animals (up to 5.8 per cent) of the national livestock total have perished. Cash grants and cash-for-work interventions have begun as part of early recovery efforts. In March, CERF allocated $2.4 million to jumpstart health and nutrition, agriculture, protection and early recovery activities.
Mongolia Humanitarian Forum
International Humanitarian Relief & Collaboration for Dzud affected Herders
Remarks by Ms. Beate Trankmann, UN Resident Coordinator in Mongolia
Humanitarian Partners, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
• The UN reports that 41% of the country’s herder population is seriously affected by the dzud (225 000 people). Most affected were the provinces in the eastern and western parts of the country.
• The HCT updates the Dzud Response and Preparedness plan on 25 April for 12 months.
• Several UN agencies, international and national NGOs and the Red Cross are assisting the government’s response efforts.
Extreme winter “dzud,” a Mongolian term for an exceedingly harsh winter, has killed millions of animals since last December. Mongolian nomadic herders now face a desolate future in the face of losing all of their livestock before the winter is over.
Background and purpose
The impact of the 2015‒2016 El Niño weather phenomenon has been one of the most intense and widespread in the past one hundred years. The agriculture, food security and nutritional status of 60 million people around the globe is affected by El Niño-related droughts, floods and extreme hot and cold weather. While the El Niño itself has passed its peak and is now declining, its impact is still growing. Harvests in several parts of the world have already failed and are forecast to fail in other areas.
Dzud is a cyclical slow onset disaster unique to Mongolia. It consists of a summer drought, resulting in insufficient production of hay, followed by a very heavy winter snow (10 to 350 cm), winds and lower than normal temperatures (-40° C to-50° C). During this time an excessive number of livestock die causing basic services, and in the longer term, livelihoods to collapse in vulnerable herder communities.
The current El Niño started in Asia and the Pacific region from as early as March 2015. It reached strong levels in some countries in July 2015. In many countries the effects of the phenomenon remained strong throughout the first quarter of 2016. However, the humanitarian impacts have now become critical in many countries and humanitarian response have been ramping up.
No. 090/2016 dated 20 April 2016
By Mely Caballero-Anthony and Jonatan A. Lassa
Millions of people are at risk of hunger, starvation and diseases as a result of the onset of the unusually strong El-Nino since 2015 till now. But efforts in disaster risk preparedness and climate change adaptation have been haphazard. There is urgency for action to avert more catastrophic consequences of new climate patterns.